How Online Surveys Work: A Quick Guide For Beginners

Since the introduction of probability sampling in the early 1900s, market research proved to be a huge benefit for companies, customers, and everything between them. Between then and now, a lot of things have changed.

But, with the advancement of technology online surveys took a different turn. In fact, a lot of people rely on them to make extra money from the comfort of their homes.

If you’re trying to know how online surveys work, you’re in the right place.

What is an Online Survey?


In the late twentieth century, market research grew so big that it became an industry on its own. Many companies invested billions of dollars in product testing, focus groups, and surveys.

Nowadays market research companies manage websites that pay people to take legitimate surveys. These websites are known as “Get Paid to” websites, and they’re gaining a lot of traffic these days for many reasons.

How Online Surveys Work

Among the things that you might question is how online surveys works, and where do they get money to pay the survey takers?

You might also wonder why anyone would pay people to take a survey in the first place. Yet, it’s beneficial for companies.

Consumer feedback is very important to companies. But, a lot of businesses don’t have a separate department for surveys and research.

In that case, these companies hire survey companies and panels to do this job for them. By tweaking the products and adjusting according to feedback, companies make more money.

A lot of companies might pay top dollar for opinions and feedback on their products or services.

How You Make Money From Online Surveys?

Taking an online survey is no different than taking a regular survey. You get a questionnaire, you answer some questions, and that’s sit.

The only real difference here is that you get to do that from the comfort of your house. If you join an online survey panel, you can actually make some extra cash.

But, you need to know that being online makes it much easier for scam sites to promise you money and not pay so be careful.

While every online survey panel is different, they all have similar steps. Here’s how you can join one and start earning cash from taking surveys.

1. Find a Good Online Survey Site

Of course, the first step would be finding an online survey website. It’s important that you make sure that the website is reputable and has good reviews.

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To save you the hassle of searching, I’ll include a list with the best options to go for. Additionally, it’s important that you learn how to spot the bad apples. But more on that later.

2. Sign Up and Become a Member of the Panel

When you’ve settled on the online survey provider you want to try, it’s time to join it. The process is similar in most online survey websites.

As a rule of thumb, you’ll need to provide an email and password to sign up. After that, you’ll need to type in some personal information, so that the website gets to know you better. This helps them to better target you with suitable surveys.

In some cases, you’ll find online survey websites that have an easier registration. In that case, you’ll be able to connect to the website through a third-party account. For instance, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, and more.

I usually prefer not to connect through these accounts for privacy. Yet, most websites will assure that they won’t use your private information without consent.

In some cases, some websites will put you through a pre-screening stage to better qualify for surveys as well.

3. Take Surveys

You get notified either through a dashboard or via email when a new survey is available.

Surveys vary. Some might be nothing more than multiple-choice questions that take a minute. Other surveys might take well over 10 minutes to finish.

Usually, the longer the survey, the more money it pays. Sometimes you have to take a smaller survey to qualify for the high-paying one.

Be careful that some websites might disqualify you even after you’ve started the survey. This is one of the things that you should always make sure that the website doesn’t do it.

4. Cash Out Your Earnings

It’s unlikely to find an online survey panel that will cash you out immediately. Also, each survey pays a very small amount of money, so you have to pile up the money before requesting it.

This is usually called “cashout minimum” or “cashout threshold”. The minimum amount of money you need to have before requesting your money.

usually, you need to have anywhere between $5 to $30 with an average of $20 for cashing out. Some companies will pay you in cash through bank checks or PayPal.

But, there are many companies that would pay you in another way, including gift cards and cryptocurrencies.

5. Referral Programs

Most websites will have a referral program. The regulations of these programs vary from one website to the other.

Yet, they usually have the same concept. For every member that signs up to the platform, you’ll either get a bonus or commission on their earnings.

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What to Look for in a Paid Survey Site

Now that you know that you can make money online through completing surveys, here are some tips on choosing the best survey panel for you:

  • Always make a background check on the website’s owners
  • Stay in the safe zone and only try out websites that don’t charge you for joining
  • Make sure that you won’t be disqualified mid-survey to avoid wasting your time
  • A website that doesn’t promise to not sell your information isn’t worth it
  • Not having SSL encryption is a major security red flag
  • Make sure that the survey website is available in your area

How Much Money Can You Make From Online Surveys?

The answer to this question varies and depends on the website. You won’t get rich taking surveys.

Instead, you should look at it as a fun way to make some extra cash or paying off debt. Most websites pay pennies for a single survey. So, you need to take a lot of surveys every day to make a good profit.

You should expect to make anywhere from $10 to $50 a month through an online survey. The exact amount depends on the online survey panel you join and the amount of time you put in answering surveys.

What Are the Best Online Survey Websites to Join

Here’s a list of the best online survey websites that are legitimate and trustworthy:

Wrap Up

The data collected from customers at certain times proved to be valuable in making the best decisions. It also helped in maximizing the quality of products and profits for the companies.

With that said, you now know how online surveys work. You also know everything you might need before trying out any of them.

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